Kenya keeps Emirates Airlines waiting as it tries to buy time for ailing Kenya Airways to get back in shape

Emirates Airlines. (twitter)
  • The country is delaying on a decision to whether grant Emirates Airlines a third daily flight into Nairobi or not until the nationalisation plan for the troubled Kenya Airways has been completed.
  • Last week, the National Assembly recommended that Kenya Airways be nationalised in a plan modelled on successful national carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines in a bid to rescue the hailing airline which has been in the red for years. 
  • Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Macharia Kamau also hinted that there will be a general freeze on decisions until it is clear how Kenya Airways will be run.

Kenya is keeping Emirates Airlines waiting as it tries to buy time for the national airline, Kenya Airways, to get back in shape.

The country is delaying on a decision to whether grant Emirates Airlines a third daily flight to Nairobi or not until the nationalisation plan for the troubled Kenya Airways has been completed.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Macharia Kamau said the move was meant to ensure future air agreements with other countries also take into consideration the position of the national carrier.

“We do have a technical issue; it is actually a political issue that needs to be sorted… the National Assembly, as you may know, has recommended that our airline needs to be structured. Because of that issue of our airline restructuring, we cannot make any decision for now,” Mr Kamau said as reported by Business Daily.

Last week, the National Assembly recommended that Kenya Airways be nationalised in a plan modelled on successful national carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines in a bid to rescue the hailing airline which has been in the red for years. 

Mr. Macharia spoke after meeting with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates led by UAE Ambassador to Kenya Khalid alMualla, where they signed various bilateral agreements under an arrangement known as the Joint Commission on Cooperation (JCC).

Mr. Khalid alMualla and Mr Kamau signed agreements, including sharing diplomatic trainings, sharing data on labour recruitment organisations to combat human trafficking but the two didn’t sign an amended aviation cooperation agreement which would have allowed the Emirates to fly to Nairobi three times daily, up from the current two times. 

Mr Kamau did not elaborate whether other bilateral air arrangements on air cooperation will be affected choosing instead to refer media quarries to the ministry of Transport ministry. He, however, hinted that there will be a general freeze on decisions until it is clear how Kenya Airways will be run.

“I expect that all [decisions] are affected,” the PS said.

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